Grand celebrations ready to mark His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th birthday on Dec. 5.
December is a very auspicious month in Thailand for one reason: the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej – the longest reigning living monarch in history. His birthday falls on the fifth day of the month. The dearly beloved king, who ascended the Thai throne in 1946, will be 88 years old this year.
To mark the birthday of the revered king, who is regarded as the “Soul of the Nation,” and “Father of the Land,” big celebrations are organized by both the public and private sector across the country every year.
Grand celebrations are usually held in Bangkok at Sanam Luang, the Royal Plaza and the area around Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall, and Ratchadamnoen Road. But the entire country actually joins in the celebrations. The spectacle includes candle-lighting ceremonies, fireworks display, and public performances.
Since his ascension to the throne, His Majesty has earned the respect and love of his subjects because he has proven beyond doubt that he sincerely cares for his people whatever their station in life.
Considered as one of the most hardworking monarchs in the world, His Majesty never gets tired of visiting every corner of his kingdom, checking how his subjects are living, and initiating Royal Projects to help uplift their welfare and livelihood. The many Royal Projects have in fact become the backbone of social and economic support for all the people of Thailand; they have helped raise the living standards of the people.
His Majesty was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States on Dec. 5, 1927. He was the younger son of HRH Prince Mahidol Adulyadej and Mom Sangwal (later Somdej Phra Sri Nakarindhara Boromaratchachonnani), who gave him the name, Bhumibol Adulyadej, which means, “Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power.”
The young Bhumibol came to Thailand in 1928 after his father, Prince Mahidol, obtained a certificate in the Public Health program at Harvard University. He briefly attended Mater Dei School in Bangkok but in 1933, his mother took the family to Switzerland, where he continued his education at the École Nouvelle de la Suisse Romande in Lausanne.
In 1935 his elder brother, Ananda Mahidol, became King of Thailand. The family came to Thailand briefly in 1938 for HM King Ananda Mahidol’s coronation, but then returned again to Switzerland.
The young Bhumibol received his baccalauréat des lettres (high-school diploma with major in French literature, Latin, and Greek) from the Gymnase Classique Cantonal of Lausanne.
By 1945, after World War II ended, he began studying science at the University of Lausanne, and the family returned to Thailand.
Bhumibol ascended the throne on June 9, 1946, following the death of his brother, HM King Ananda Mahidol. But he returned to Switzerland to complete his education. His uncle, Rangsit, Prince of Chainat, was appointed Prince Regent. The young king then switched over his field of study to law and political science to prepare himself more effectively for his new position as ruler.
While finishing his degree in Switzerland, he visited Paris frequently. It was in Paris that he first met Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitiyakara, daughter of the Thai ambassador to France. He was 21 and she was 15. The two were engaged in Lausanne on July 19, 1949, and married on April 28, 1950, just a week before his coronation.
Their Majesties have four children: Princess Ubolratana, born April 5, 1951 in Lausanne, Switzerland; HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, born July 28, 1952; HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, born April 2, 1955; and HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak, born July 4, 1957.
Lookeast Magazine joins the entire nation in wishing His Majesty long life and long rule! Long Live The King!